Categorizing the components of a Christmas movie

Jake Keeley

Each December brings the release of any given network’s 25 Days of Christmas special, during which a different Christmas movie is shown each day. There are movies you expect to see on the schedule such as “The Year Without a Santa Claus,” and movies that you wouldn’t expect to see on the schedule, like “Toy Story,” which is not, has not, and will never be a Christmas movie.

Overall, the lists do a fairly good job of representing the two main characteristics that comprise Christmas movies: comedy or ‘feel-good’ elements. Essentially, each Christmas movie, when you get down to its core, wants to make you laugh or feel good about the holidays, your loved ones with a good amount of crossover between the groups. You’ll see that the better the Christmas movie, the more crossover between the groups.

But do you know what Christmas movie isn’t comprised of comedy and feeling good? Jack Frost. If there was a list of the saddest movies ever made, Jack Frost would top it. In its most simple form, the plot is as follows: child’s dad dies, child’s dad comes back to life as a snowman, child’s snowman-dad dies. Before I begin on the details, what kind of twisted individual decides to film a movie which revolves around losing a parent around the holidays, reviving them through magic and then killing them a second time.

In long form, the story follows a young boy named Charlie. Charlie’s dad is the quintessential ‘cool’ dad. In fact, Charlie idolizes his father, who is in the midst of a make-or-break period for his band “The Jack Frost Band.” On his way home, in the middle of a snowstorm, Mr. Frost is tragically killed in a car accident.

Fast forward one year later, and Charlie is upset as it is around the time his father passed away the year prior. He decides to build a snowman that comes to life after Charlie wishes into his magic harmonica from his father. This is where the story turns from sad to unbearable. After convincing Charlie that a snowman is actually his dad, they begin to realize the stark reality that Mr. Frost exists solely as flakes of snow rolled together. Not ideal when a heat wave is coming.

So this time, instead of Mr. Frost dying a swift, painless death as before, Charlie has to watch his snowman father suffer through the increased temperature as he slowly begins to melt, in a death that I can only imagine is similar to a combination of dehydration, fatigue, hypothermia, and perhaps an element of drowning. In essence, the worst way to go. In a last ditch effort they take their camp to a colder climate where it is there that snowman Jack Frost makes his last stand. I know, I’m crying just writing about it.

So, have we perhaps mislabeled Jack Frost as a Christmas movie? I think so, seeing as Jack Frost’s death is more aligned with that of a “Saw” killing, (freezing someone then turning the heat up on them, I could actually see that) I think “Jack Frost” moreso follows the path of “Die Hard,” a movie that takes place during Christmas, but lacks any holiday spirit, than it does “Rudolph.”